CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside marginalized women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Women are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve basic education, improve maternal and child health, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources. CARE also delivers emergency aid to survivors of conflict and natural disasters and helps people rebuild their lives. In 2013, CARE worked in 87 countries around the world, implementing long-term programs to fight poverty, respond to humanitarian emergencies and advocate for policy change to improve the lives of the poorest populations.
The purpose of CARE’s advocacy work is to influence U.S. Government policymakers and the American public to adopt and fully implement policies that support the efforts of poor and marginalized people in the developing world to realize their rights and improve their lives.
Definition of Problem
Every spring, CARE hosts its annual National Conference and International Women’s Day Celebration (NCC). This two-day event convenes CARE advocates and supporters from around the country to learn about vital international development issues before heading to Capitol Hill to call on lawmakers to deliver lasting change to girls, women and communities around the world. Each year, the 200-300 participating advocates discuss two or three issues with lawmakers. Yet follow-up from the conference is often a challenge, as is measuring the impact of the conference and advocacy asks with lawmakers. Moreover, CARE is one of dozens of organizations that conduct such conferences and lobby days on Capitol Hill each year. CARE would like to compare our NCC with conferences and lobby days convened by similar organizations, particularly in relation to best practices, effective messaging, measuring impact and opportunities for follow-up.
Initial Steps and Options
Working with a Development Advisory Team, CARE would like to examine how other organizations engage advocates and supporters around advocacy conferences and lobby days. In particular:
- What are the best practices for engaging advocates at a conference and lobby day? (compare & contrast CARE’s NCC with other major conference & lobby days)
- What makes advocates sign up for the NCC, and travel to D.C. on their own dime and time to participate? (Conduct a survey or focus group with advocates who registered for/participated in the 2014 NCC on why they signed up, what went well and could be improved upon, etc).
- What are effective messaging strategies, particularly on the importance of U.S investments overseas and travel to see U.S. investments firsthand?
- How can we cut through the noise in reaching policymakers (particularly given the amount of Lobby Days)? How can CARE stand out and be more effective in its conference?
- How can we measure the effectiveness and impact of the NCC? How do other organizations measure the effectiveness and impact of their conferences and lobby days?
- How can we continue the momentum of the NCC, particularly with advocates and supporters? What are effective methods of follow-up with advocates, and with legislators? Again, conducting a review of the methods/processes of similar organizations.
Definition of Success
A systematic report with recommendations, addressing the questions listed above, that helps us increase the impact of our advocacy conference and lobby days on behalf of women.